Jon Gruden: Players are ‘dying to come play’ for Raiders
Jon Gruden claims during an interview set to air on Thursday that he hears from players all the time who express an overwhelming desire to play for the Oakland Raiders.
Gruden, who had a 10-year, $100 million contract offer from the Raiders lure him out of the comforts of the broadcast booth and get back on the sidelines, made the claim in an interview with FOX Sports’ Howie Long that will air ahead of the Raiders-49ers showdown on “Thursday Night Football.”
“I got a cell phone just like you and everybody else. I get a lot of phone calls from people that are dying to come play here. I’m just telling you,” Gruden said in a teaser video shared by FOX Sports, via ESPN. “They’re dying to play for the Raiders.
“And to have salary cap space and to have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the Silver and Black, the guys you really want to wear the Silver and Black and represent this team, that’s exciting.”
The notion that players are eager to join the Raiders arguably appears suspect when taken at face value. After all, the Raiders have been an unmitigated disaster in Gruden’s first season back with the team, stumbling to a 1-6 record.
Further, Gruden heads an organization that cut ties with two of its best players, trading away Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears ahead of the season and dealing Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys ahead of the deadline.
That said, the trades did yield the Raiders three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, arguably setting the team up for success at some point down the road. Whether potential future success really is enough to entice free agents to consider the Raiders, much less sign with the team, remains to be seen.
Concerning Gruden’s claim that players are “dying” to play for the Raiders? That will ultimately be proven or disproven once free agency kicks off in the coming offseason.